Free ‘ComputerCop’ Software Lets Parents Monitor Kids Online
Special software meant to help concerned parents monitor their child's Internet activity is being offered for free by the Cook County State's Attorney's Office. "ComputerCop" allows parents to review their child's Internet actions and find out if their children are being exposed to any harmful or inappropriate material, Chicago's WBBM-TV reports.
“As the number of children who use technology continues to soar, the need for education and the commitment to the protection of children who are exposed to online predators must also increase,” said State Attorney Anita Alvarez.
What does ComputerCop do, exactly, and how can you ensure your child's online safety?
ComputerCop's Many Features
ComputerCop was developed by several law enforcement agencies, including the F.B.I., and Cook County is not the only area offering the software. Several other counties, including Solano County in California, are offering it as well, with some places charging a small fee.
A key feature of the ComputerCop software is a database of around 2,000 "red-flagged" words that are associated with pornography, violence, and drugs. The program also:
- Contains a "delete" function for parents to remove inappropriate material;
- Displays all images stored on the computer;
- Scans for content based on the above-mentioned red flag words; and
- Provides a search option for all files, or just most recent files.
Protect Your Children
Besides the ComputerCop software, what are some other ways that parents can protect their children when it comes to online activity? Here are a few options:
- Moving your child's computer to a common area of the house for easier monitoring;
- Discussing Internet usage with your child. Parents can limit this to certain hours or purposes (for school research only, for example);
- Warning your child about interacting with strangers or giving out any personal information to non-trusted sources;
- Keeping track of your child's activity on social media -- checking the privacy settings and ensuring that they aren't too public.
For more information about online safety for children, check out FindLaw's Online Safety For Kids.